Luke's Burgers - a bunful of yum

By Honey Pen - 13:23

I’m not embarrassed to admit that I chucked a little tanty when I heard Salt grill would not be on P&O’s Pacific Explorer. 

But, after chatting to the big man himself (not God) Mr Luke Mangan, he assured me that if given the heads up, a plate of his signature gnocchi could be whipped up for me when I’m next aboard. #Special

However, after our conversation, all thoughts of those delightful potato-pillows vanished from my gluttonous brain and were replaced with buns.

Buns oozing with cheese.
Buns squishing succulent patties
Buns filled with fried chicken

Luke’s Burgers is a new concept for P&O and, from the first reviews from cruisers who have sailed on the Explorer, they’re pretty satisfied with the eatery. Now I haven’t sampled the burgers nor have I cruised on the Pacific Explorer (yet), but I was interested to know why Luke Mangan had decided to embark on this new venture.


“I think Australian cruisers will embrace the casual dining experience of Luke’s,” he said.

“Imagine eating a burger while sitting by the pool, on a hot day with a cold beer. Just wonderful.”

The alfresco eatery offers burgers, hotdogs and desserts and is open from 11am  to 3am  - yes 3am! Perfect to fill those post-Dome dancing hunger pangs.

The concept is a progression from Luke’s newly launched burger chain on land, Chicken Confidential, but would it work at sea?

“I was on one of the first cruises out of Sydney on the Explorer and we served 400 people every day. We were busy all day and night!”

Playing Devil’s Advocate, I had to ask Luke about the price. With most eateries on board included in the fare, were cruisers going to balk at reaching for their cruise card to pay for a burger?

The short answer: No.

“The burgers are restaurant quality and we have something to suit everyone. We have a vegetarian burger, barramundi burger,  ‘the big cheese’ with beef, double cheese, lettuce, pickle and Luke’s special sauce and a ‘Gangnam Style’ with Korean crispy fried chicken, pickled vegetables, herbs and kimchi mayo,” he said.

“We’ve also got BBQ and soy spiced fried chicken wings, a spiced prawn Caesar salad and my new signature dessert, a ‘wagon wheel’ ice cream sandwich.”

Prices: $3 for French Fries,  $4 for Wings, $4 Hot Dog, $5-6 burgers, $12 Prawns and $6 Wagon Wheel Ice Cream Sandwich.   

I’ve been scouring social media pages to get a first-hand review of Luke’s – I must admit I was a little worried that cruisers would not be happy paying. However, in all honesty, every single review I have read has been glowing.  The burgers have been gobbled up by: hungry teenagers, mums, grandpas and everyone in between.

Yes, you would be right in guessing I’m totally jelly right now, but I have a feeling that Luke’s will be sticking around for some time and most probably be expanded on all ships of the fleet.

I can easily imagine myself working my way through the entire burgerlicious menu, spend the entirety of my next cruise wearing a muummuu by the pool, wiping burger-juices from my chin.

A true and accurate picture of future me

I still want a plate of gnocchi though…

N.B  For a more fine dining experience, guests will be able to enjoy a Salt grill experience with a special ‘Taste of Salt’ dinner at the ship’s 14-seater Chef’s Table. The seven-course degustation meal will feature some of Luke’s land-based favourites such as the ‘glass’ Sydney crab omelette and signature liquorice parfait paired with matching Australian wines.  


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